In less than a month we had three Madeleine sightings, one of which was echoed by the parroting world media. Three sightings of dubious origins, three sightings that coincided with, at least, one major development of the McCann couple quest to stifle free speech and now, of a press already threatened by archaic libel laws.
For those of us who have followed this case since 2007 coincidences abound. So does spin, purposely published at calculated times to mislead or suppress information. A tactic used often by what has become known as 'Team McCann'.
On January 18, 2013 the vast majority of the Portuguese printed press published a Lusa news agency press release stating the that “The trial that opposes the McCann couple and Gonçalo Amaral, in which Madeleine’s parents demand a compensation of 1.2 million euro over alleged defamation by the former PJ inspector, has been suspended due to an attempt to reach an extrajudicial agreement.” This wasn't reported in the UK.
On January 20, 2013 the Express' James Murray, published 'Madeleine McCann kidnap photo shock', claiming that “Officers were happy for us to describe the potentially key evidence which shows a healthy fair-haired girl aged three or four in pink trousers, a green top and a blue hat (...) The photograph was allegedly taken in Brazil in June 2007 (...) The man suggests paedophile Raymond Hewlett, who died of throat cancer, aged 64, in Germany in 2010, was involved with others in the abduction (...) We can also reveal the man has been in contact with Isabel Duarte, Kate and Gerry McCann’s civil lawyer in Lisbon (...) The Yard may send the picture to FBI imaging experts in America for an opinion (...) This week the Yard is expected to ask detectives in Brazil to interview the man before considering whether to fly him to London.”
On the same day, Pamalam, who received an email by the man in Brazil, and Reggie Dunlop (member of The Maddie Case Files), found out that the 'Madeleine McCann kidnap shock picture' was indeed taken in June 2007 but in Ibiza, Spain. It was a picture from Associated Press, that had been published in a BBC news article illustrating the passengers being evacuated from Ibiza's airport after an anonymous bomb threat. I translated the email for Pamalam's site, and it was obvious from the first line, that it was a hoax by someone who had used news reports online to fabricate a story - motivated by money, publicity or something else is anyone's guess.
James Murray, Isabel Duarte, the McCanns, the Yard team, all of them had the same email, with exactly the same picture. None of them thought of tracing back the origins of the picture? None of them thought the wording in that email was bizarre, to say the least. Or did they? It seems other newspapers around the world were wiser, this story wasn't regurgitated anywhere else, except in the 'O Crime' Portuguese weekly tabloid who totally forgot to credit Pamalam and Reggie for debunking the Brazil email hoax.
On January 24, 2012, the journalist Hernâni Carvalho confirmed the “McCann couple lawyers had proposed a meeting to the other four defendant parties in order to reach an extrajudicial settlement.” This step taken by the McCanns was surprising and at the same time it was not. The implications of this out of court settlement, independently of what is to be agreed upon, can be quite damaging to the McCanns' quest.
A small recap on the McCanns legal actions in Portugal
The McCann couple successfully banned Mr. Amaral and his publishers, Guerra & Paz, book titled 'Maddie, The Truth of the Lie' with an injunction in 2009, that also prohibited the commercialization and broadcast of a documentary 'What Lies beneath the Truth', by Valentim de Carvalho and TVI channel respectively - demanding them to “collect, for destruction, all the books and videos that are still left at points of sale or other deposits or warehouses.”
In that process the McCann couple demanded for Gonçalo Amaral to be forbidden of “citing, analysing or commenting, verbally or in writing, on parts of the book or of the video that defend the thesis of death of the third Applicant or of the concealment of her body, by the two first Applicants”, also prohibiting the “reproduction of any comment, opinion or interview, where said thesis is defended or it can be inferred” and of “publishing statements, photographs, or any other documents that are allegedly connected to said book and video or said thesis”.
That injunction was overturned in 2010 by the Appeals Court in Lisbon mainly on the grounds of “the right of freedom of expression of thought that is constitutionally consecrated and furthermore the fact that the statements and facts that were published in the book are the mere reproduction of solid data that is part of the investigation that was started at due time, and that said statements and facts are even part of the investigation’s archiving dispatch that was signed by a Prosecutor of the Portuguese Republic.”
The books were only returned on April 25, 2012 the same day that BBC Panorama broadcast in the UK another biased documentary featuring DCI Andy Redwood as 'Clarence Mitchell'. It was never broadcast in Portugal.
In a parallel legal action in 2009, the McCanns asked for 1,2 million euro as compensation from Gonçalo Amaral. Another injunction was ordered, this time to secure the amount asked by the McCann couple [an astronomical amount based on what they said were Gonçalo Amaral's profits from the book sales royalties], freezing all of Amaral and his family assets, leaving him without any means, professionally and personally, to defend himself in court. A citizen's project 'Citizens for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms Project Justice Gonçalo Amaral', PJGA for short, was started to help Gonçalo Amaral regain his right to freedom of speech, followed by the creation of legal defence fund used exclusively for the payment of his judicial expenses.
In 2010, the McCanns asked for Gonçalo Amaral and his wife, Sofia Leal to execute a separation of assets - only possible with a divorce - in order to attain, besides his book authorship rights and half of his retirement pension, Gonçalo Amaral's part of the family house in Olhão. The marriage of ten years yielded to the pressure in February 2012.
Almost one year later, supposedly during the first week of January 2013, the McCanns, in an extemporaneous decision proposed an extrajudicial settlement to the same man, considered by the McCanns in their economic-with-the-truth book and in multiple interviews, to be their nemesis. Kindness of heart? I think not.
The McCann's out of court settlement request has not been published nor divulged in the UK.
Instead we had another coincidental story (re)surfaced in 'The Southland Times' [bylined by Brooke Gardiner] on the 4 of January 2013, republished from the 6 of February 2013 in the UK media, then reproduced world wide in the following days. That was the New Zealand sighting of a Madeleine look alike that had already made the news back in March 2010. A 2007 sighting of that same girl had already been dismissed by the New Zealand police in that same year (2010).
In February 6 2013, the McCanns lawyers in London, Carter Ruck, took a retired solicitor, Mr. Anthony Bennett to court for breaching an undertaking forbidding him of repeating, commenting, or giving his opinion on the Madeleine McCann case. Mr. Bennett has been, like many of us, trying to divulge and inform others about what is in the Judiciary Police case files to a misinformed public in the UK. For that, he now faces a possible jail sentence or/and a fine that will deprive him of his possessions. The ruling will be given on the 21st of February at the Royal Courts of Justice, the case of the McCanns versus Mr. Anthony Bennett can be followed here.
New Zealand Maddie sighting spanning 2007 - 2013
The picture of the New Zealand girl that was published in 2010 was taken from the Judiciary Police/Portimão's prosecutor process [not available in the case files released to the public in 2008], and was included in a 2000 pages dossier allegedly consisting of hundreds of “Maddie sightings around the world” and “psychic visions” previously ruled out from the PJ investigation. That dossier was distributed to the UK media in late February - early March 2010 by the Portuguese prosecutor in charge of the Maddie case process, upon...
Just a few days earlier, Isabel Duarte, the McCann's lawyer, in an impromptu press conference at Lisbon's Pálacio de Justiça talked about dozens of “shocking photos” [implying of a paedophilic nature] gathering dust in a dossier that had “never been followed” by the Judiciary Police team. Another theatrical attempt to distract the public about what had been said inside the court room, validating Gonçalo Amaral's thesis and book - a thesis shared by those who were involved in the investigation. Or was it an attempt at informing the UK journalists - vultures as Kate McCann described them in her book - present there that such a dossier existed? Some of the dossier pages have been published since then in the UK media with the usual xenophobic adjectives used to describe the Portuguese police.
At the time Gonçalo Amaral said, “These sightings, that are being talked about, almost always came from the English police, if they are so important, as some people are saying now, why weren't they investigated by Scotland Yard? After all, the little girl is a British citizen” and once again, as he has done since the process was archived in 2008 “The important things is not going around talking about sightings, saying that the little girl was seen here and there, the important thing is to reopen the process. The truth is that after I left Portimão, nothing more was done, the process was archived by the Public Ministry half way through, many diligences remained to be carried out, and that is what now allows for all sort of speculation.”
The dossier of “sightings” and “visions” are probably part of Andy Redwood's “195 leads” claims. The Portuguese Attorney General said at the time that the “new leads” uncovered by Scotland Yard were nothing more than “mere speculation”. Rightly so.
The New Zealand girl's family, after being forced to give their daughter's DNA to Scotland Yard, in order to establish what had already been established in 2010 - that she is not Madeleine McCann - can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Hopefully. On February 12, 2013 the New Zealand police released a 4th statement, which concluded: “Given that there is conclusive evidence that their daughter is not Madeleine McCann and has no connection to Madeleine McCann, it is only right that she and her family are entitled to a level of privacy that most of us enjoy. The family has asked that their privacy continues to be respected and do not want any contact from media.”
Other children were not so fortunate.
Bouchra Ahmed Ben Aissa, Tea Dedic, Leone Drpic, Nicole A'Hern, Carolina Santos, Sjanneke Hofstede.... How many more? And in the name of what exactly?
It seems as many as necessary to perpetuate the charade. As we can see in the following section.
'Мадлен Макканн' and the new McCanns self-appointed spokesman
Today, 15 of February another spin was created and regurgitated by the UK press [with extra spin sauce here] and Portuguese press. The origin? Graham Perry [Грэхэм Перри], the new self appointed McCanns spokesman.
It seems Mr. Perry belongs to the infamous HTFM [Help to Find Madeleine] organization that back in 2007 attempted to mass delete several youtube videos, used the murdered child Mari Luz Cortés in a poster and in mass-mailings without her parents consent. In brief, an organization whose volunteers, some at least, do a mix of astroturfing, cyberbullying and harassment online.
Graham Perry's comments can be found in the internet, everywhere where Madeleine's name is mentioned, ranging from the kind “raising awareness” to more abusive and odd comments. One thing is certain, Graham Perry is obsessed by Madeleine McCann as he himself admits.
According to Lifenews(dot)ru, Mr. Perry contacted Mr. Victor Yankov, community manager of a volunteer organization named “Find Missing Children”, presenting himself as an official representative of the McCann family.
Bare with me, it's a google translation:
A McCann close family friend from England contacted our volunteers. He asked to resume the search for the girl in Ukraine and Russia, and to make a special Russian-language guidance [poster], said the “Find Missing Children” community manager Victor Yankov. We have updated the guidance and distributed them to our Russian counterparts. He [Perry?] got in touch with us after one dying man confessed [Raymond Hewlett never confessed to having kidnapped Madeleine, he would be the perfect patsy, no doubt!] to have participated in the kidnapping of the child, which means that Maddie is alive and can be found in our countries.
Enters Graham, “Hello, I'm from the UK. My name is Graham Perry, a spokesman for the McCann family and a coordinator for the Find Madeleine, who coordinates the progress of the investigation. I'm sending you a picture of Madeleine for guidance in Russian. I'm sure it will be very helpful for Madeleine and her family.” Watch out, Clarence.
He adds, “I translated leaflets in all languages because, according to her father, Gerry, she can be in any corner of the world, including in Russia.”
Lifenews(dot)ru then adds, “according to Mr. Perry, there is a big possibility that Maddie now has another name and may not speak the native language (...) Volunteers quickly contacted England and promised to make it available in the two countries (...) The association “Find Missing Children” in Russia have also confirmed that the search for the child has already begun (...) Activists were asked to connect to volunteers from all over the country for distribution and posting of orientations with photos of Maddie six years ago and a portrait composed by experts, suggesting how the girl might look now (...) Madeleine McCann can theoretically be anywhere in the world, but the family asked the Russian and Ukrainian volunteers to be more active. It is possible that the girl is located in the territory of the Russian Federation and Ukraine (...) in 2007 the police [what police?] version considered that Maddie was kidnapped by a gang of Russian paedophiles, however, it is not confirmed. British police recently made a portrait of the girl with the age-related changes. Experts suggest that now Maddie should look that way.”
Really? Little blonde girls in Russia?!
No more fake news! No more spins. Enough.